Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Teen to Adult
|1 hr. 29 min.
|Year of Release:
November 2, 2001
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|John Travolta, Vince Vaughn, Teri Polo, Steve Buscemi, Matthew O'Leary
|Harold Becker, Donald De Line
|Paramount Pictures Corporation, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS
It is disturbing to see the divorce rate in our country continue to grow. It is also alarming to note that almost 50% of all Americans now belong to a Blended Family. It is true that schedules, finances, discipline, and a long list of other challenges face couples that remarry. But there are many excellent resources available for making a positive transition. Dr. Richard Dobbins lists “The 10 Commandments for Stepparenting” on CBN’s Web site (www.cbn.com). Focus on the Family, American Association of Christian Counselors, and the Web site www.togetherpublishing.com, also provide an excellent place for information. The problem is many couples that remarry do not get help or counsel. It is disquieting to watch the incidents of child and spousal abuse also on the rise. Perhaps the above information will provide a start for making a loving transition in your home, if you find yourself in such a situation.
“Domestic Disturbance” continues a string of bad films for actor John Travolta. “The General’s Daughter,” “Lucky Numbers,” and “Battlefield Earth” have all been cinematic losers. The film “Swordfish” has even been released the same week as his new film to desperately try to generate some interest.
This is all quite surprising considering that veteran director, Harold Becker (“The Onion Field”) and writer Lewis Colick (“October Sky”) were involved. One thing is for sure: Christmas came early for Paramount Pictures. The PG-13 rating is a definite gift… in “DD” disturbing images include a 12-year-old child witnessing a brutal murder, a mother being physically assaulted and miscarrying, a son watching his father get pounded to a pulp, and a man graphically dying by electrocution.
John Travolta gets to play the good guy (maybe it’s “his turn” to do so) as Frank Morrison, a recently divorced boat builder in Maryland who longs to spend quality time with his son. Danny (Matt O’Leary) is the 12-year old boy caught in the middle of divorce. His mom, Susan (Teri Polo), has met the next Mr. Right and wants to remarry. The problem is Mr. Right, Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn), is not what he seems. Danny is strongly opposed to the union and engages in lying and running away from home to get attention. Rick is quite wealthy and has the community eating out of his hand (just ask the Chamber of Commerce). Frank tries to give Danny some advice on acceptance and even takes the two of them sailing (isn’t that nice). Life seems to be fine until Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi) shows up and reminds Rick of his past, leaving Rick no choice but to kill him. Can you guess which two characters are going to get into a big fight?
Borrowing from Aesop’s children’s story about the boy who cried wolf, no one believes Danny’s story about being an eyewitness to the murder. (This continues to give great substance to the Bible and all that it declares regarding the truth.)
There are many irks with “Domestic Disturbance” for those who like things to fit together. Firstly, when suspected murder is involved, a police investigation would never come to a close so lightly. I should know. I watch “Law and Order” every week with my wife. Secondly, Frank is a much better detective than professional detectives (not bad for a boat maker). Thirdly, we have lots of throw away lines that fill in the many holes in this script.
Morally, there is an excess of violence. Profanity includes 4 uses of the F-word (one of which is dubbed over—thanks for the concern). It is predictable from start to finish. This is a poor excuse for the standard “evil step parent” film. “The Glass House” almost has more suspense. That, in itself, is scary.
If you know of a blended family that is struggling, reach out to them. As a counselor, I meet with families like this regularly. The majority echo their feelings of isolation and a longing for some fellowship. Maybe you can provide what they need.